Spring, Athletics, Sports, Baseball

Mike Gambino Hired Away to Penn State

Penn State hired former Boston College baseball head coach Mike Gambino, who coached the Eagles for 13 years, on Monday. The hire comes after Gambino agreed to a five-year contract extension with BC on June 16 after guiding the Eagles to a program-record 16 conference wins, their best record of all time, and their highest-ever program ranking during the 2023 season. 

Gambino ranks second in program history in wins at 291. He boasted five seasons of 25 or more wins and eight seasons with 10 or more ACC wins. BC appeared in the ACC Tournament four times during Gambino’s tenure, and he developed 33 draft picks in his first 12 years with the program. 

Gambino will reunite with former BC Athletics Director Pat Kraft, who was hired by Penn State in 2022

“We worked with Mike at Boston College and know how he grows a program to find success on a national stage,” Kraft said in a release from Penn State Athletics. “Mike is a tremendous teacher and has a track record for developing players’ skills to prepare them for the next level. He has an impressive 33 Major League Draft picks in his first 12 years as a head coach.”

Gambino’s contract with the Nittany Lions comes soon after BC lost two of Gambino’s assistant coaches, Kevin Vance and Tyler Holt. Vance was hired away as a pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at Arizona. According to a tweet from Kendall Rogers, Holt left due to “budgetary constraints” at BC. 

“I couldn’t be more excited to get to work with these young men and develop this program into a national contender and challenge to make the College World Series,” Gambino said in the release. “We will work tirelessly each and every day to make our alumni, former players and everyone involved in the program proud.”

In 2023, Gambino led BC to a 37–20 record and 16–14 ACC record. Gambino took two Division III pitchers out of the transfer portal, Chris Flynn and Andrew Roman, to serve as BC’s top starter and closer, respectively. Flynn earned All-ACC Second Team honors while Roman tallied a sub-2.00 ERA up until the ACC Tournament. 

He also landed the 2022 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, Nick Wang, who became a dominant infielder at the hot corner for BC. Finally, Gambino utilized the framework he already had, which included BC’s new Pete Frates Center, to ascend the Eagles to third place in the ACC’s Atlantic Division in 2023, their highest mark ever. 

Gambino centered his roster around projected draft picks Joe Vetrano and Travis Honeyman to build the Eagles’ offense in 2023. While Honeyman went out with an injury in April after posting an OPS of .917, Vetrano led BC with a .315 batting average in 219 at-bats, 22 home runs, and 64 RBIs. Vetrano was named the 2023 Tuscaloosa Regional MVP. 

Other major contributors to the ballclub in 2023 included outfielder Barry Walsh, who manufactured a .314 batting average, outfielder Cameron Leary, infielder Patrick Roche, and starting pitcher John West. All of these players and others proved to be major tools in the arsenal for Gambino, who praised his team highly all year and believed they were national contenders. 

July 3, 2023